The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) just kicked off the Organic Survey to gather detailed data on U.S. organic agriculture production. The survey is a complete inventory of all known organic producers that are certified, exempt from certification, and transitioning to certified organic production.

"Total organic product sales by farms and ranches in the United States have continued to grow over the last few years, increasing by 83 percent between 2007 and 2012," said USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. "These latest census results show the continued interest in organic agriculture among consumers, producers, and businesses. As we look to the future, the important information we gather will be crucial to capturing the strong private and public sector support to sustain the continued growth of this industry."

Conducted by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Organic Survey is a result of this growing demand for organic agricultural products and data. The survey looks at many aspects of organic agriculture during the 2014 calendar year – from production and marketing practices, to income and expenses. It also focuses on the future of organic production by including producers transitioning to certified organic agriculture.

Producers who receive the Organic Survey are encouraged to respond. The responses will provide important and detailed information to help determine the economic impact of organic production, and this information will help USDA develop programs and services for organic crop and livestock producers

Farmers and ranchers can fill out the survey online via a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov, or return their form by mail. Federal law (Title 7, U.S. Code) requires all producers who receive a form to respond and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential. Recipients are required to respond by mail by Feb. 13, 2015 or online by April 3, 2015.